The race was an extremely low key sort of affair - the type of race that starts at a local elementary school and doesn't have chip timing - and we got our race packets and put on Louie the Lazy Lobster (yes, there's a mascot) tattoos with no problem. Pretty much immediately on heading out for a warmup we were completely soaked. The rain actually felt great - it was a muggy, high 70s day - and I kept thinking 'I don't mind this at all..as long as it keeps raining'. We made it back to the starting area where everyone was huddled under an awning, and after a few minutes the race got underway. The race was a fundraiser for MyTeam Triumph, which is a Team Hoyt style program where people with disabilities can participate in races with a guide using custom wheelchairs. Pretty cool program, and there were quite a few teams out despite the ridiculous weather! They headed off first and then it was time for the rest of the field. The 5 and 10 miler were starting at the same time, and I started scoping out the women around me who I would be running with (or not). Two of the faster looking girls up front were doing the 5 miler, and there was only 1 other woman doing the 10 mile lining up with us at the front. The horn sounds, and off we go!
After the dust of the initial 400 meters or so had settled, I found myself running in 3rd position, behind Joy and the woman in the sports bra who had been near the front at the start. I felt like I was running pretty comfortably, and my first mile hit at 6:55 which told me I had not gone out like an idiot! Great success! I wasn't feeling AWESOME but I wasn't feeling weird like last week either, so I guess that was a good sign. Somewhere after the first mile I passed Joy and was just bopping along when my freaking shoe came untied! I don't know if that's ever happened to me before...I always double knot my laces but I guess being wet meant that even that wasn't enough. I literally mumbled 'oh for fuck's sake' under my breath as I stopped and tied it, which seemed to take an hour and about 14 attempts (if my Strava graph is any indication, it actually took about 30 seconds). I kept envisioning a bunch of women passing me during this time period but luckily for me that actually didn't happen; one girl running the 5 mile passed me as well as an older dude, but that was it. Mile 2 was actually still a 7:10 despite the 30 second break; I have a suspicion that after I tied my shoe I took off like a sprinting idiot to try to 'catch up', or whatever. Ah well, what can you do.
Weirdly enough, miles 2-5 were the part of this race that sucked for me. Apparently Taylor had been gaining on me as I tied my shoe and soon after she came absolutely blasting past me. I tried to keep up for awhile but it quickly became apparent that she was not slowing down any time soon. Meanwhile, the rain had stopped and now instead of being cool, I felt like I was being suffocated in a blanket of humidity. I was hot, wet, and sticky (file that under the category of 'things that sound dirty but aren't') and I wasn't really enjoying myself. The 10 milers had to do a little lollipop out and back which is one of my least favorite race course features, not to mention there was a tow truck parked across the course whose driver seemed to have no concept/didn't care about the runners having to splash through a huge puddle in order to go around him. Nothing much of note happened in the next few miles. I was slowing down a little bit, but not as aggressively as at Newport - 7:19, 7:20, 7:27. I was very uncomfortable. During mile 4ish the 10 milers were running with slower 5 milers (because of the lollipop, we were ~1 mile ahead on our course) so I felt like I was passing people, which was nice. I missed a water stop because the guy in front of me got water and the volunteer wasn't quite quick enough (understandable, but at the time I was like c'mon, man!) But I wasn't going to go back for it, so I just kept moving forward.
Somewhere between mile 5-6 I took my Gu in the hopes that it would make me feel better, and surely enough, IT DID! I guess I must have been in need of some salt, because within about 5 minutes I went from "please kill me" to "hey, this pace is fine! Nice and relaxed! How lovely!" And - ta da - I actually started picking it up a little bit as well. Nothing dramatic, but 7:19 was an improvement. Taylor was waaaaay up ahead on the road and I knew I had no chance of catching her, but over the next couple of miles I slowly started reeling in sports bra lady, finally passing here somewhere between mile 6 and 7. By this point it had also started raining again, and that was pretty much all I needed to try to keep the gas on for the next few miles. Winning the race was obviously out of my reach, but I wasn't going to argue with second woman, and right now I was in a position to make that happen. I really didn't want to squander that chance by being afraid to be uncomfortable. Now, really, I didn't have a choice because pretty much the entirety of mile 8 was an extremely gradual but nevertheless present incline. That took my confidence down a notch with a 7:31 mile - c'mon man, marathon pace? What are you doing? With only 2 miles to go I knew that I had to try a little harder. Luckily, at that point the skies COMPLETELY opened up and the steady rain turned into an absolute downpour. In one of my favorite moments of any race ever, a shirtless guy about 50 feet in front of me threw his arms out to the sides and his head up to the sky, just basking in it. It was just one of those things - like, 100 people showed up for this race, not many people are willing to run in this kind of crap, but here we are, the lucky ones, to get to be here and to do this - it was great. The rain kept getting heavier and heavier - to the point where I couldn't see the next runner in front of me and giant puddles were forming in the road. I was definitely ready to be done but at the same time I was having a blast running in this ridiculousness. I hadn't even looked at the net time on my watch in ages, and I'm not good enough at math to be able to figure out what kind of time I was aiming for. I was pleasantly surprised to see 1:12 up on the clock as I headed up the last hill and towards the finish chute. At that particular moment, a giant pack of 5 milers wearing tutus were also turning into the chute. Never mind that they had run half the distance, I was not losing any precious seconds to a pack of people. I SPRINTED around them and into the 10 mile chute, finishing in 1:12:41 and second woman overall.
Not me, but this is how hard it was raining about 5 minutes before I finished
I congratulated Taylor, who had come in about a minute ahead of me, and then turned to see Dana coming in - she had passed sports bra lady, and GBTC went 1-2-3...woo! Since we are typically the "b-team" of our squad when it comes to Grand Prix races it was kind of exciting to be able to get some top prizes. Sports bra lady was next, followed shortly by Joy - all in all, a pretty impressive showing! We headed out to cooldown and cheer on a new member of our crew before heading back to FINALLY change into dry clothes. I also drank a bottle of apple/cranberry juice that pretty much tasted like it had been sent straight down from heaven...good call on the juice, race management, good call.
Essential post race selfie with Joy, with our Louie tattoos hahaha
After drying off we headed back outside (into yet more rain) and huddled under the food tent waiting for awards - because we ALL won awards! I was completely shocked to get not only a medal, but a GPS watch for being 2nd overall woman (top 3 M/F got them). I mean, guys! This is not a big race - I was beyond pumped. For me, the excitement of managing to place in the top 3 women overall isn't diminished at all by the fact that the race was smaller. It's all about who shows up! Being able to be in a position where it's possible to take home some awards, even if it's only in smaller races, is such a cool thing, and I never want to make that less meaningful by thinking "oh, well if it were a bigger race, I wouldn't have won anything".
Favorites with our winnings
The one and ONLY disappointing thing about the day was that after the race, we went to this random little BBQ place in Carver (which was completely amazing - I got a hot dog WITH PULLED PORK ON IT. What is my life.) But the sad part that was I was somehow so tired and distracted and not thinking that I left my favorite running had (pictured above) at the restaurant! Wahhhhh! What's funny is I got that hat from pretty much the worst race of my life, a 6K in which I sprained my ankle, fell, and ran a completely embarassing time. But you know what, I LOVED that hat! Oh well - at least it got some redemption during today's race. As a sidenote, I just looked up the race and discovered IT DOESN'T EVEN EXIST ANYMORE! So I will never be able to find another 6K hat. Oh well. Anyway, the BBQ was delicious, and Joy and I finished off the day after getting back to Boston with a flight at Aeronaut Brewery...because really, what is summer racing without beer afterward?
All in all, it was a really fabulous day. I ran fairly well; I am clearly not in racing shape and I think these 10 milers have been a really good kick in the pants to be like 'hey...you know...you can't just do easy 5 milers every day and expect to run well..." Despite that, it wasn't a BAD performance at all - hey, it's a PR - and while I think that in peak shape I could definitely run a 10 miler in sub-7 pace, I can't complain too much about 7:16. Also, the race itself was just SO GREAT - what a breath of fresh air after the clusterfuck of two weeks ago. I seriously think small races are the way to go - they care about the runners, not about having some gigantic event. The course was actually the right distance (THANK YOU), we got men/women specific tech shirts as well as finisher pint glasses, medals with glitter and a bottle opener on them, and then wooden medals for AG awards as well as the GPS watches for top 3. I think that's the most swag I've taken home from any race, EVER, let alone a tiny little 10 miler. The proceeds all went to a good cause, and it was really just a great experience. My only negative would possibly be the traffic control out on the course - there wasn't really signage saying "hey, race going on!" or a lane of cones or anything, so I don't feel like cars had a great awareness of the fact that they might have to move over for a second. That being said, the roads where the race was run were REALLY quiet, so there wasn't necessarily enough traffic to warrant closing the roads or anything. The course was pretty enjoyable - basically your quintessential rural New England race through quiet roads and trees, rolling hills, but nothing too insane. I definitely plan to make this one a yearly summer tradition!
Lazy Lobster 10M
1:12:41 (7:16 pace) actual PR
8/118 OA, 2/68 F